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Thousands Ring In The Year Of The Pig At Chinese New Year Festival And Parade In SF

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) - Colorful floats, marching bands, Chinese acrobats and a 288-foot dragon weaved their way through San Francisco as thousands of people lined the streets to watch the Chinese New Year parade on Saturday.

Many elected officials also cruised down Market Street to take part in the celebration of the Year of the Pig.

Newly elected San Francisco Mayor London breed, who took over for mayor Ed Lee, was named the Grand Marshall of this year's parade. While the parade was only Saturday night, the street fair in Chinatown will be held Sunday. It's happening on Grant Ave. between California and Broadway streets.

It's a cultural tradition that dates back to the 1860s. Each year, thousands of visitors came out to experience the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia.

A thousand firecrackers kicked off the celebration. Firecrackers are lit to scare away evil spirits.

The parade route started off at 2nd and Market streets with lots of pigs and piglets in sight.

Many Bay Area schools took part in the parade, including Yick Wo Elementary School.

Natalia Melendez is one of many students who dressed up to make the 1.3 mile walk through San Francisco in the brisk weather.

"It's crazy, lots of waiting and lots of rehearsal but it's been amazing," said Melendez.

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